This is part of a 3 part article written to help you get the best online dating profile photos possible (To read part 1 click here)
4. Glamour Shots, Make-Up and Hair
A glamour shot is never about creating a photograph that shows your real personality. It’s about creating a shot the photographer finds the most pleasing. The photographer will often use heavy make-up, hair styling, unnatural lighting and lots of post-production retouching.
The result might be fantastic but it fails online.
People avoid these types of dating pictures because they know no one looks like that in real life — and if they do bite, they avoid them after the date because they didn’t measure up to the dating photos on the profile.
Here’s what eHarmony has to say about glamour shots:
“Come on. Do you really think we’re going to fall for that one? We’ve all seen too many makeover shows to believe that you look anything like this styled, photoshopped person before us. Please remember, we want to see what you’re going to look like on our first date. In fact, you can even wear the same clothes, ‘Hi, here’s my first date attire.’ Men like to move forward with solid information. Anything less feels disingenuous.”
When it comes to using a make-up artist before having a picture taken, guys can do without. Women probably can too if they’re a dab hand with the mascara. One easy option is to stop off at the cosmetics counter at a nearby Sephora, MAC or department store for a free make-up session on the way to the shoot. Bear in mind that spending hundreds of dollars on hair and make-up can backfire. If you can’t re-create the same glammed-up, flawless look for your dates, you’ll disappoint.
When profile photos don’t look like you, they don’t serve their purpose.
If you’re doing your own make-up, keep it natural. Apply using natural window light even if that means using a room other than the bathroom. Good lighting is essential to a good, even application.
Lips should be shiny, either from transparent or colored lip gloss. (Matte, dark lipstick tends to have an aging effect in photos, so it’s best avoided.)
Face foundation and powder should be matte and exactly match neck and body skin tone, so that it becomes invisible. You’d be amazed at how many women think they are wearing a perfect skin tone color, when in reality the foundation is visibly darker or lighter than the true skin tone of their neck. The camera sees everything, so you might want to update your make-up supply before their session.
And forget about that “age-defying” mineral foundation that contains light reflecting particles to give a youthful look. While it might look great in real life, it’s not camera-friendly. Self-tanners and bronzers will invariably make skin look orange, and glittery body lotion or make-up tends to show up in pictures as little white flecks.
Shine is the enemy of photography. Dewy skin is attractive in real life, but in photos it looks like an oil slick, so skin should be matte.
Eye shadow can look darker in photos, so if you normally wear a dark color, think about using a lighter shade for their photo session. Mascara, though, will make eyes appear brighter.
Grey hairs and dark roots are also something the camera sees, so if you color your hair, try to have it done no more than a few days before the session.
Ultimately, you should style your hair the way you would normally wear it to a date. If the shoot will take place outdoors, hair spray will tame flyaway strands away from face and hair, hands and nails may also end up in the shot. A plain clear nail polish always works. For dry lips, bring Chap Stick and for dry eyes, there’s Visine.
Guys have it easier but it’s worth spending a few minutes the day before the shoot tweezing away facial hairs to eliminate nose hair or unibrow.
5. To Smile or not to smile?
We’ve mentioned that smiling is usually a good idea in a dating photo, but not all smiles are created equal.
There are the natural authentic smiles we display when we’re genuinely joyful… and then there are the forced smiles we endure for photos and polite social occasions.
Authentic smiles are marked by wrinkles in the eyes and differ from those flat mouth-only smiles.
It’s the real, happy grins that get results.
A recent study of authentic smiles, conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrated the impact of smiling. Researchers analyzed the yearbook pictures of 111 smiling women aged 21. Fifty of the pictures displayed authentic smiles. Participants expressing genuine positive emotions in their yearbook picture were more likely to be married and have higher well-being than their non-smiling classmates.
An experienced photographer will know that it’s never a good idea to force a smile out of a client. A forced smile isn’t genuine and nearly always looks fake and cheesy.
“The original photographer I used didn’t make me feel comfortable, she kept telling me to smile, when I’m not a smiling sort of person… I mean, I smile but not the “cheesy” grin that she wanted, I had a tooth repaired and I’m just not comfortable when forced to smile-and my photos showed it-I felt stupid when I saw them and never used the photos, they just sit on my laptop and every time I see them I groan”
“John,” 46, San Diego
When your photographer knows how to coax out a real smile, you’ll look much better. The muscles used to smile will lift the face, making you appear younger.
And most of us are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what’s making them so happy. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away but a smile draws them in
“You know how it feels when you’re out and someone smiles at you? It makes you more likely to approach that person or at least smile back, right? Well, it’s the same with online photos. People want to know what you look like when you’re happy. Why? Subconsciously, they’re also looking for someone who might make them happy. So save the tough — or pouty — face for an additional shot if you really want others to see it. Post a grin as your main shot and reel in a date!”
Match.com expert Kimberly Dawn Neumann.
So smile… but naturally.
6. Body Language
The smile is an important part of body language but it’s not the only part. How you sit, where you place your hands, how you hold yourself will all communicate a message to the viewer.
Some dating experts have recommended that singles look away from the camera on the grounds that it makes them look like someone whose attention the viewer needs to win.
We’ve seen that that look can work for some men, and a 45-degree angle might be worth experimenting with, but playing hard to get isn’t a winning strategy for everyone.
A more reliable approach is to stick to the simple stuff, and relax. Avoid crossed arms that can create a barrier, and use open friendlier gestures. An authentic look is way more important.
A lot of good body language lies in the ability of a talented and experienced photographer to help you relax and display your natural, positive expression. Photographers posing people often just makes them more tense.
7.Face Shots, Body Shots and supporting photos
Your photographer should create a number of different images. The face is vital, obviously, and the photographer should produce a great portrait that you can use as your primary photo, the photographer should also take a variety of photos, including a few half-body and three-quarter body shots. The variety will help.
Supporting photos will reveal a little more about you. They depict your uniqueness, your personality and your life.
These photos could be a picture of you hiking the Grand Canyon, giving a speech at an event, diving in Belize, drinking a cocktail with friends, or even just walking the dog. It’s one thing for you to write in a profile that you’re active and adventurous but a picture proves it.
But those pictures should be real. If you like golf then add pictures of you on the golf course, not pictures of you holding a golf club. When supporting photos are staged they don’t look natural. They look sad and needy.
Family, Friends and Furry Friends
Be careful about how many shots you post with friends or family. While a good photo might depict you as trustworthy and family-oriented, too many shots will portray you as the man or woman who can’t leave their mother for more than five minutes.
And while you may think your dog, cat, hamster or turtle is the cutest thing in the world, no one viewing your profile for the first time is looking to know your pet.
They want to see you.
Unless you’re looking cute with your pet, those photos are a waste of time. An action photo of you playing fetch with your dog at the park would be great here but a professionally taken picture of owner and pet together just makes you look a little too devoted.
Supporting Photos Tell Stories
A profile should tell a story. It should tell a story of you and your life. The supporting photos should illustrate that story.
If you are a pilot who flies at the weekends, goes to the gym every night and is passionate about cooking then we’ll want to see pictures of these activities. Congruency between the profile text and the photos creates an element of trust between you and future dates.
Altogether, your profile should have a few clear headshots, a couple of body shots and a few supporting photos about what makes you unique. And don’t forget to delete the old photos. A profile is only as good as its weakest image.
“If you don’t have a selection of great looking profile photos then it’s going to be much harder for us to get you the great results that you want. The bottom line is better photos will get you better dates – with better people. Unappealing photos will get you unappealing dates – with unappealing people!”
Dating Coaches “The Amazing Clarks”
Dating online? Regardless of your age, the most important thing you need to know…
Whether you are 25 or 95 Having great online dating photos is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how with great profile pictures we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!